Yahoo's Mitgang Named CEO Of Web TV Startup Veoh
"There's a big difference between creating a great product and creating a great business," said Mitgang, who was a leader on the Panama project while at Yahoo. "We've been concentrating on the latter, thinking more about relationships with advertisers and content providers, and how to generate revenue."
Veoh Networks, the Web TV and video syndication startup backed by Michael Eisner, last month debuted its version of the ideal viewing experience--Veoh TV.
Veoh TV presents viewers with a single interface to search, browse and view all video on the Internet--from major television networks such as Fox and CBS to independently produced content on sites such as YouTube, Google Video, Veoh.com and MySpace.
"Unlike Joost, which is a closed system with content from a limited number of sources, Veoh TV supports open Internet standards, and has access to virtually all of the video content on the Internet, on demand," said Shapiro, who will now stay on in the role of chief innovation officer.
Founded in 2004 by Shapiro, Veoh's key selling point has been its ability to enable users to upload videos of any length through its peer-to-peer technology. In February, the startup relaunched its video-sharing service with a more polished look and a new set of features, including the ability to download videos from virtually any Web site using the Veoh media player.
Last month, Veoh said it drew 14.3 million unique users, and secured $26 million in third-round financing. The company also recently began expanding its recommendation widgets to offer users video suggestions based on past viewing habits and preferences.
Still, the company faces intense competition in the near future. Along with YouTube and other video-sharing sites, the publicly traded blinkx is planning to launch a broadband TV network by the end of the year. Microsoft is also readying a peer-to-peer Web TV service named LiveStation in cooperation with Skinkers, the British software developer.
If Mitgang is feeling the pressure, however, he is not showing it.
"If we know about those [rivals], there are 20 or maybe 100 more that we don't know about yet," he said. "All we can do is focus on what the consumer wants and what the consumer is trying to do. If someone else comes up with a great innovation, we can always copy it, or at least put our own spin on it."
As Yahoo's senior vice president of advertiser products and platforms, Mitgang's chief focus had been on the launch and execution of Panama. Leaving in April, Mitgang was not around to witness recent changes at the company, including the ouster of Terry Semel and the loss of various top-level executives like chief sales officer Wenda Harris Millard.
For publishers, Veoh has allowed videos to be posted automatically to Facebook, publishers' own blogs, RSS feeds, the iPod and Windows Media Player, and syndicated to top video sites such as YouTube, Google Video and MySpace.
Tying into its still-amorphous business strategy, Veoh has created branded channels for several media companies including Us Weekly, Paramount Pictures, TNT and New Line Cinema.
In March, Veoh began powering video distribution for Vuguru, Eisner's new studio for producing and distributing high-quality plot-driven Web video. (Both Vuguru and Veoh are backed by Eisner's investment firm The Tornante Co.)
With the help of Veoh, Vuguru creations like "Prom Queen" have been streaming online since April at PromQueen.tv, at partner sites like ELLEgirl.com and YouTube.com, and even at Veoh.com.